Friday, August 27, 2010

Shop life

It's a slow Friday here in the shop but that doesn't mean I've got nothing to do. I've been cleaning and re-organizing like a madwoman! The back of this place was starting to look like 'The hoarders." I hate clutter, and when it starts to accumulate I feel a bit nuts.

My list of things to do isn't getting any smaller because I forgot to add 'clean the shop' to the list of 'to do's.' That's how neurotic I am, I'll add something I accomplished to my list just so that I can feel the satisfaction of crossing it out!
Maybe I'll add these to my list,
1. don't mop today, you should rest after all the cleaning you've already done
2. don't worry about your mess of an apartment- you move in a week and you get to take most of that mess to Good will. Purging will feel so good.
3. don't worry about anything, worrying is a waste of time
4. do eat a cupcake, possibly two
5. and definitely dance like you've never danced before!
Click here
I'm dancing around the shop and laughing quite hysterically at this point!
Alison xo

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'm back baby!

Okay, let's get on with the good stuff! Life is beautiful and there is much to report! Weddingbells magazine has asked me to write a blog for them! You can follow me for the next year as I plan our wedding, move into the heritage townhome Tyler and I just purchased together and run the flower shop. They think I've got some insight on this whole wedding thing having been on the other side of the desk for the last year, I say, let's do it!
As for the home we purchased, it's in Belleville. near both of our families. My dad is here in Toronto, so I'll be staying with him for three days a week and the rest of the week I'll be back home, sourcing antiques and enjoying the pleasures of the country. I was once quoted saying, "I'll never go back." It's amazing when you let go of the life you thought you wanted, you open yourself up to something so much more spectacular.

I love the country! I'm still a city girl at heart though so why not enjoy the best of both worlds? That's how I grew up, weekends and summers in Toronto with my dad and the rest of the time in the country with my mum and pop. I wouldn't change a thing. Oh, there were plenty of days I ran from the house and up over the hill screaming, "I hate this place." I'd sit up on the rock pile overlooking acres upon acres of patchwork green and golden fields and cry about how I wanted to be in the city where the action was. But it's on that rock pile my inner Anne Shirley was born. The romantic bits of me developed while strolling those fields, singing Debbie Gibson at the top of my lungs and yearning to be an adult. I was certain that I was gonna be somebody pretty great. When dad would come and get us for the week end he'd drive me along Queen St. and up Yonge to give me my city fix and before turning back for home I'd ask, "Can we go around one more time?" He always did. But, there remains a certain longing for a slower pace, a quieter existence. I'm looking forward to beginning again with Tyler. It seems our relationship has been one long transition. We moved in, I opened a flower shop, we're constantly on the road visiting family and shopping for antiques. We can't wait to stop and settle in.
I'll have more time to build the business when my new gal joins this one woman show and helps me with some of the load. September 2nd is Coriander Girl's one year anniversary, what a year it's been!
Stay tuned for new shop products and a whole slew of events you won't want to miss!

This is a pic of the living room inhabited by it's current owners. We get the keys on September 2nd and can't wait to get our hands on this little gem. My vision is to restore it to it's original charm. I'm hoping there's hardwood hiding underneath all that birch laminate. One can dream.
xo Alison

Monday, August 23, 2010

Thank you!

I am so blessed to have such supportive friends and family and my darling Tyler. It's been difficult, starting over after my hard drive crashed a few days ago. It sounds dramatic but it really is a painful thing. I'm getting quotes to recover data that are so incredibly high, I have to wait and hope that the information is still recoverable in a month, maybe three. With the move and now planning a wedding there certainly isn't an abundance of money floating around. It's so strange to have a price on my memories. What are your memories worth to you? It would seem like a no brainer of course, no matter the cost, get everything back- but then there is this part of me that thinks I deserve to lose it all for being so careless. Does this make any sense or do I just sound ridiculous? Tyler did say a lovely thing to me after the hysteria subsided, "We've got so many good memories a head of us, don't worry hon." And dear friends have been sending me pics that they have of the shop, Rachelle, a friend and the owner of Hawk Eyes came by the morning after with a flourless chocolate cake from Terroni that could put a smile on a dead man and today Shira sent the photos seen here from her beautiful wedding that I did a couple months ago. I am re-building thanks to all of you, slowly but surely, and it's kind of freeing in a zen sort of way to clear and begin anew.

Tyler and I are in the midst of packing and get ready for a huge move. I can't wait to share more about this with you!
With endless gratitude.
Alison xo

Friday, August 20, 2010

The bad news first?

My shop had a leak in the ceiling yesterday, I came in to find my computer sitting in water... "No, no no!" Panic, hysteria, denial, "it's gonna be okay"... Cut to Apple store, "It's not okay, everything is fried. But, at least you backed up. You did back up right? Okay, here's a number to a data recovery place, go and come back in an hour and we'll see what we can do. Jackie treated me to David's tea, she bought me Vanilla Oolong and even hugged me as I cried. Who are these people?
After an hour of weeping around Sherway Gardens clutching my delicious Oolong, visited my brother at American Eagle(he works there), window shopped and thought about draining my bank account on a Mark Jacobs hand bag to take the pain away, I made my way back to the MAC store. They greeted me as though I had a loved one in surgery. And I did. Two years of my life were documented in Iphoto. My budding relationship with Tyler, the birth of my little shop and all the work that we did to make it happen, and the hundreds of floral arrangements I've made since opening the doors, our baby bunny, the shop's files, clients, dreams, folders of inspiration, Adobe!! Programs, invoices, bookmarks, wedding inspiration. I didn't just lose a play list for shit sakes! My memories, are the souveniers of my life and the only thing I really own. I felt as though my heart was breaking open, call me dramatic but ask yourself, if you lost it all right now how would you feel? Do you need to back up? I actually believed I'd get to it, that it wouldn't happen to me. Even as I picked up my computer yesterday and drained it of 2 cups of water, I continued to use it and I believed it was fine.
But, there I stood in the MAC store with all of it's employees gathered around me at 9:05pm. They were closed but they were not rushing out the door with their coats on, they were there for me until the end, whatever that meant. And then Jackie spoke, "We all feel so bad for you so we've replaced your computer with shiny new parts, including a better hard drive and battery." My battery died months ago and that was a three hundred dollar fee I couldn't afford. Apple care doesn't cover water damage but they swooped in like little darling computer angels and rescued me from the depths of despair. I cried some more, thanked them endlessly and grabbed an external hard drive from the shelf, "Can someone tell me how to use this please?"
Please, back up your computer today. This happened to my dear friend a few months ago and I remember thinking, "Al, don't let that happen to you. There is too much to lose." But then I went and ate a burger or something.
If anyone has programs they'd like to share, I've got a clean slate and a shop computer I need to rebuild.
Alison xo

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Coriander Girl is vermicomposting! What's this you ask? Well, a couple of months ago the 'worm lady'(Liz Broxterman) came for a visit to host a composting workshop here at the shop, she taught us about the benefits of vermicomposting for apartment dwellers, cottage goers, basically anyone who wants to compost but doesn't have a yard or at the cottage and you don't want to attract bears. She treated me to my very own bin of worms last week!! I'm over the moon about this as nothing makes me happier than doing great things for the environment. I feed the worms every week or so with organic waste from whatever I've been enjoying, for example blueberries, or an apple core, coffee grinds, etc, etc. And in three months I'm going to have some pretty amazing organic soil for the shop plants.
For more information e-mail Liz and! Yay for composting!

Little doodle worms and when I picked this one up he squiggled himself into the shape of a heart, I think that was his way of congratulating me on my engagement.

And a pretty arrangement to kick off this fine Saturday!
xo Alison

Friday, August 13, 2010

I'm learning

It's been almost a year since I opened the doors to Coriander Girl. I've learned a lot about people and even more about myself in these last 12 months. About a month after I opened a man walked in and proceeded to tell me, I was a lucky girl and things were going to start happening for me, profound things. Well, naturally I ate this up. Who doesn't want to hear that they are destined for greatness? I was loving it. What I wasn't prepared for was when the man slid a piece of paper across my counter that read, $150.
He wanted payment for his predictions. My heart sank as I quickly realized, I'd been had. "Not so fast," I thought. I proceeded to assure him I was not about to pay for this as I didn't knowingly enter into a business agreement. There was nothing that lead me to believe I had to pay for our conversation and I told him he was very much out of line. This kind of dealing is deceitful.

But, I also didn't want him to put a hex on my future so I slid the paper back across the desk with a crossed out $150 and instead wrote, $20. "That's the best I can do, I didn't ask for this and as a new business owner- I can't even afford this!"
Needless to say, he accepted the twenty dollars and left, assuring me all would be well in my life.
Cut to almost one year later, I'm sitting here at my shop desk today on the computer, a man walks in, not the same man but similar looking. He tells me I have a "lucky face." I size him up, this time I'm ready, this time I know his game and I ain't playin.'
He withdraws a bit, "Ahh, you're lucky girl but you think too much."
"Ney ney, kind Sir, I have been burned before and now I must be cautious. But, I wish you much success and the best of luck in your life." And away he went. He may have been the greatest fortune teller of all time but the way things have been unfolding for me this last year, I love being surprised by my good fortune. I believe in destiny to a degree but you've got to go after it and you have to believe you are deserving of an incredible life. If you see your glass as half empty, it's always going to be half empty.

Who needs a dance party people!? It's August, there are still so many lovely days a head before the cold comes! Let's celebrate these glorious days!!
Come on and work it on out! Click here shake it, shake it, shake it!!!

Harry says hello!! And hopes you're enjoying your summer as much as he is.
Alison xo

Friday, August 6, 2010

Arnie's Muffler and General Repair

We're engaged! I told you there was a good reason for my recent absence from the blog world! I've missed writing but couldn't bring myself to talk about everyday things like candles and vases without potentially spilling the beans. You want your family to hear it from you not via the internet, sorry to those who are finding out this way! I've been sitting on this wild news for too long!! But no more! The cork is out of the bottle! We're engaged!! We're going to marry each other! We can't wait to celebrate our wedding with our dearest friends and family next summer.
Tyler proposed last week while we were visiting his home town of Picton, Ontario. The whole family knew both mine and his. He had asked for the Coriander Dad's permission a week before(so lovely) and then went to my mom and stepfather for their blessing also. Cutest doodle.
The proposal was perfection, we went for a walk and he thought that the park, where he once played as a child, would be an ideal spot but it wasn't until he realized it was the site of a sewage treatment plant that he had to re-think his initial plan. We walked on, through a swamp area, mosquitos had a field day. I could sense something thrilling was about to happen, he looked like a little boy waiting to open his Christmas presents. We walked on, past a construction zone, slipping through some wetlands and emerged from the park onto a side street. "My mom used to work there at that license bureau." I loved seeing all of these places that he looked on with such fondness. We walked on, I later learned, in this moment he was thinking, "I'm not going to force this, if it isn't right, it can wait." I forgot to mention, his dear mama Penny had sent us that night to The Merrill Inn, a beautiful Bed and Breakfast where Tyler used to work. She said we needed to relax because we both work too hard, little did I know she was in on it the whole time. So, back to our walk. We forged ahead hand in hand looking for something, I wasn't sure what, but Tyler trusted the moment would come. And then it happened. We came upon a clearing and there gathered in the lot were six rabbits. Six rabbits!! We thought of our dear rabbit, Harry, back home in his cage, slowly but surely becoming a man, he'd sure love to meet other bunnies. Now, I'm pretty fairy tales and lolly pops but this was weird even for me. I have never seen six rabbits outside a petting zoo and this just seemed like a gift from the love gods. Tyler turned to me and the minute he said my name I began to cry. I can't tell you much after that because it's mostly a blur but he did get down on one knee and ask me to marry him and I did answer back an over the moon YES! We hugged and kissed and I cried and the bunnies clapped, okay that part I made up but it felt like the forest creatures were on our side. And if all that wasn't perfection enough we looked up to see we had been standing beneath a sign that read, 'Arnie's Muffler and General Repair.' My nickname for Tyler is Arnie, because of his incredible Shwartzennegar impression. I do believe the fates aligned for this perfectly magical moment, a mix of romance and hilarity.
And then to top it all off, the church bells rang as we descended over the hill and back to the Merrill Inn for some champagne compliments of our dear friend Edward Shubert, the Inns owner.
We called our families, a cell phone on either ear so I could share the news with them at the same time, only to learn they had known all along. Of course, I cried when I told Penny and Bill what an honor it will be to become part of the family and Bill said, "Honey, you're already part of the family." How lovely is that? More tears.
So that gets to be our engagement story for life. The bunnies, Arnie's Muffler, church bells and an evaded sewage plant. The more I tell it the more I love it!
I'm so looking forward to the year ahead, planning a wedding and I have more news... we bought a heritage townhouse... in Belleville!! I know, what?! Don't worry Coriander Girl isn't going anywhere. I'll be commuting half the week here and half there. We're down that way all the time to see our families and source antiques for the shop so it made sense for us to buy there. Who knows maybe I'll open a Coriander Girl there and Toronto can be the flagship store. Aim high!!
But this news is a whole other blog post!
Dear readers it feels so good to share my stories with you, thank you for being so incredibly supportive!
Alison xo

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I haven't fallen off the face of the earth

My first official pangs of blogger guilt. I haven't written in days! So much to share.
I promise the next post will be well worth the wait.
Thanks lil' doodles. Peace out.
Ali xo